Increase revenue: Sounds obvious, but the best things that you can do is to increase the revenue coming in to your business. This can be achieved through a variety of methods, such as expanding the customer base, perhaps into a new area, introducing new products or services, or raising prices. Remember that the easiest sales to make are to people who already know, like and trust you. It will be easy for them to say yes if you offer them something new. Make the ask, put the offer in front of your potential customers and don't be shy. Accept the fact that you are in sales and you need to go to where the customers are, not the other way around. It's not the time to sit and wait.
Reduce expenses: Look for ways to cut costs, such as by negotiating better rates with suppliers, streamlining processes, or reducing overheads but be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Cutting marketing costs can seem like an easy place to start but it might make you worse off if your sales dry up as a result. Moreover, if you continue to market when others may be reducing their marketing spend, you'll stand out even more. Instead, look to cut costs in areas of waste. This could be unused subscriptions, inefficient team members or space that just isn't being used anymore.
Improve cash flow: One frequently overlooked area is to ensure that you are efficiently collecting payments from customers to whom you have already serviced and invoiced but who are dragging their heels. Those that shout the loudest get paid, so don't feel awkward about asking for overdue payments. Even better, ask for money up front.
Consider and Manage debt wisely: Know when and how to use debt responsibly to fund growth, but be sure to carefully consider the terms and costs of borrowing. Interest rates are really shooting up at the moment, so every penny is going to cost you so much more than it did even twelve months ago. Not all debt is the same. A goo rule of thumb is to match the length of the repayment of the debt with the life of the purchase, so if you are buying a new machinery that will last five years, tried to have payment terms to match. An overdraft is a good (but expensive) option for bridging cash flow difficulties, particularly if your business is seasonal, but it isn't a good long term option.
Invest in assets: Especially if these assets can also generate revenue or help you to be more efficient. Choose investments that will generate long-term value, such as property or equipment and look at matching how you pay for it with appropriate sources of finance (see above).
Diversify income streams: Don't rely on a single source of income; consider generating revenue from multiple sources to reduce risk. Know that your customers will have different price points. Give them an offer with a price point that is hard to say no to, but bear in mind that it is often as time consuming to sell a £300 product as a £3000. Just make sure that you are selling the right thing to the right potential buyer. Be mindful of your margins. Know that income streams can be in various forms, such as earned income, dividends, rent, interest, royalties, capital gains (from selling assets) and business income. How many of these do you have? Are you reliant on your business providing you and your family alone? What can you do to diversify?
Seek professional advice: Consider working with a financial advisor or accountant to get expert guidance on financial management. Knowing that you are in safe hands and have access to ideas and options that you may not even have considered will help you to sleep better at night.
Stay up to date: Keep track of changes in the business environment and adapt your financial strategy accordingly. Keep an eye on what's going on in the wider world, but don't be blind sided by the doom and gloom in the press. It can be a self fulfilling prophecy and it is rarely in their interest to sell good news.
Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs who have a positive mindset, whether this is "in real life" or online. Learn from others, listen to podcasts and thought leaders with experience. Good practice and behaviour is infectious and will help to cut through the noise of a recession. Remember that not everyone experiences difficult economic times in the same way. Smaller businesses can be very agile and adapt well to the new opportunities that difficult times present, provided that they are led by someone with an open growth mindset.